[JPL] B.B. King bids farewell to Montreux jazz festival

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Wed Jul 5 13:46:59 EDT 2006

B.B. King bids farewell to Montreux jazz festival
Tue Jul 4, 2006 7:24 AM ET

By Stephanie Nebehay

MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - B.B. King and his guitar Lucille, on a 
final tour in Europe, has bid an emotional farewell to fans at the Montreux 
Jazz Festival, where the "King of Blues" has performed for more than 20 years.

Now 80 and suffering from diabetes, he was joined on stage by a host of 
performers at the end of Monday night's concert in the resort town along 
Lake Geneva.

Singers Gladys Knight, Barbara Hendricks, Randy Crawford and Leela James, 
jazz guitarists John McLaughlin and Stanley Clarke, keyboarders Joe Sample 
and George Duke, and saxophonist David Sanborn paid tribute to the King of 

"Maybe I should quit every night," quipped King, who sang and played his 
guitar while seated throughout the two-and-half hour concert which 
stretched into the early hours of Tuesday.

"I'm going to cry again. This is the icing on the cake -- I could never be 
sent off better," the American icon added.

King, wearing a gold and black dinner jacket, and his seven man band 
performed classics including his 1970 Grammy-winning "The Thrill is Gone" 
and "Ain't That Just Like a Woman."

"My knees and back hurt and my head ain't much good either. I can remember 
though that I am now 80 years old so I sit down to make it feel better," he 
told the sell-out crowd.

King, who was born on a plantation in Mississippi and grew up in the 
segregated south, won a Grammy Award earlier this year for Best Traditional 
Blues Album with his album "80" -- his 14th from the music industry.

Festival founder Claude Nobs, presiding over its 40th anniversary this 
year, said: "Nobody wants it to be your last year. B.B., you are an 
honorary citizen of Montreux, this is your second home."

King said that during his 60-year career he had performed in 90 countries, 
but admitted there were times when he was deeply hurt by his music being 

Lyrics from a song, "Understand," summed it up, he said: "I've been around 
a long time. I'm a blues man, but I'm a good man, understand?"

Some 100 groups are taking part in the two-week event -- including Santana, 
Sting, Black Eyed Peas and Diana Krall -- which draws 250,000 music fans of 
all ages from across Europe.

Deep Purple, whose 1970s hit "Smoke on the Water" describes a concert fire 
raging in Montreux, is returning to the lakeside resort to close the 
festival on July 15.

© Reuters 2006

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